Heather Bowman is a mother who knows grief, and she wants anyone who’s suffered a pregnancy loss to know they’re not alone.
“My dream was to always be a mum, and I was not willing to sacrifice becoming a mother because I had not found a husband yet,” the now 39-year-old, of St. Louis, Missouri, told Mamamia.
And so, using donor sperm Bowman conceived twins; which was a delight, and terrifying, at the same time.
“How was I going to take care of two babies at the same time as a single mother? But at the same time, I was so excited that I was going to have two beautiful children.”
Sadly, the pregnancy was short-lived. In a rare situation, Bowman went into premature labour at 16 weeks, and delivered a stillborn son and daughter. But a determined Bowman knew she wanted to try again.
“I have addressed everything in my life head on,” she said, and adding that becoming a mother would be no different. Not long after further IVF, Bowman, to her delight, saw “two strong little heartbeats” – she was having twins, again.
However, this time around, her medical team were cautious. They advised her to “reduce” the twins to one baby. It was an option Bowman simply wouldn’t entertain, and it’s a decision she’s relieved she made.
“Had I listened to them, I wouldn’t have my daughter because she was the embryo whose heartbeat was not seen the first couple of weeks.”
“I thank God every day that I listened to my gut and that she ended up being such a strong, little fighter.”
At 17 weeks, Bowman was given the news that there was no detectable heartbeat for her son, whom she named James.
“I was devastated to hear that my son was no longer with us. I [also] knew I was going to have to carry him until I delivered my daughter,” she said.
Which made it a bittersweet moment when her daughter, Leti, was born healthy at 36 weeks.